Consumer issues in Food Sector

Q. Whether the company was negligent in producing the bottle as well as the soft drinks called ‘Fanta’ wherein insects were found inside a sealed bottle of the company?

After considering all the evidences, NCDRC held that as the Company did not try to help and provide any assistance to the Laboratory personnel and no efforts were made by the Company regarding the origin of that bottle. Prima facie, it appears that this bottle belongs to the Company. The Court added that the case stands proved against the company and thereby dismissed the revision petition. While upholding the order of State Commission, NCDRC awarded Rs. 10,000/- compensation to the consumer who found insects in “Fanta” bottle.

Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages Pvt. Ltd. v. Purushottam Gaur MANU/CF/0392/2014

Q. Whether the Respondent is a “consumer” within the meaning of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 if she cultivated a crop for the appellant who failed to buy it back?

The NCDRC held that the Respondent was a “consumer” within the meaning of Section 2(1)(d) of the 1986 Act it held that the covenants entered into between the parties were in the nature of both sale of product and rendering of service, since the Appellant had agreed to provide wet musli for growing for the Respondent. Further, we cannot say that the agreement was entered into for a commercial purpose because the Respondent had started cultivation of musli for eking out a livelihood for herself. Thus, when a farmer purchases goods or avails services in order to grow produce in order to eke out a livelihood, the fact that the said produce is being sold back to the seller or service provider or to a third party cannot stand in the way of the farmer amounting to a “consumer”.

Nandan Biomatrix v. S. Ambika Devi MANU/SC/0291/2020

Q. Whether alleged failure to take appropriate action in terms of the Food Safety Act against the seller of the alleged contaminated goods fall under the Consumer Protection Act?

In taking action in terms of the Food Safety Act, the Petitioner performs its statutory obligations and does not render service to a person who buys goods from a private person. No element of rendering services as understood in the context of Consumer Protection Act is involved in performance of the said statutory obligations. Therefore, neither the Complainant can be said to be the consumer of the Petitioner nor was there any scope for awarding compensation under the provisions of the Consumer Protection Act against the Petitioner, on account of the alleged failure to take appropriate action in terms of the Food Safety Act against the seller of the alleged contaminated goods. If the Petitioner had failed to perform its statutory obligations under the Food Safety Act despite receipt of complaint from the Complainant, the appropriate remedy for the Complainant was to approach the concerned High Court by way of a writ petition and a consumer complaint against the Petitioner was entirely misconceived.

Food Safety Commissioner v. Anand Unni krishnan & 2 Ors. Revision Petition No. 36/2017 (NCDRC)